-William Ernest Henley
-William Ernest Henley
Born in Germany, lived in Japan until age ten, then moved to Iowa. Nothing about Kahlil Ashanti’s life makes sense.
He joined the US Air Force to escape an abused childhood, hoping to become an architect, but this led him to a gig as a performer, dancer and comic with Tops In Blue, an active duty performance troupe tasked by the US State Department to perform in war zones to boost troop morale. Five world tours and many failures later, he was performing six nights a week as a magician in Japanese at Caesar’s Magical Empire, Caesar’s Palace Las Vegas. Then, he took an acting class from Jeffrey Tambor which inspired him to write his one man show called Basic Training. After taking Basic Training around the world and then to Broadway with Hollywood producer Barry Josephson (Men In Black, Bones, Air Force One, Bad Boys, Enchanted), Kahlil moved to Vancouver where he’s now a husband and father.
He often teaches, sharing his entrepreneurial insights and pitching skills at tech incubators like Institute B, GrowLabs and Launch Academy. Kahlil's unique life experiences performing for troops in harms way will serve as the inspiration for a new television series. To find out which one, follow him on Twitter @kahlilashanti. Announcement coming soon.
Amid the hype fuelled blast of any arts festival comes at least a dozen wheezing promises that here, at last, is The Next Big Thing. In the case of the unlawfully gifted Kahlil Ashanti, the promise happens, on this occasion, to be completely, marvellously true. This show is killer. His gift for dead-right mimicry is comparable to Eddie Murphy; his talent for seamless, feel-good melancholy brings Robin Williams to mind and his sheer X Quotient evoked, for this glitz-happy reviewer at least, the adorable chops of Bernadette Peters. The man's a star.
His quality of humanity sets him apart from other mechanical, do-anything-for-a-laugh comedians. A versatile dynamo...this confident magnetism will clearly work in film when he makes his inevitable motion picture debut.
This show is a master class in versatile acting, with Kahlil Ashanti playing the dozens of diverse characters in his own life with astounding aplomb and unerring conviction. You need to reserve your ticket for this extraordinary spectacle before the run deservedly sells out.
‘At least we’ll be able to say we knew him when.’
‘A mind blowing combination of amazing talent, military discipline and showbiz chops delivered by the most talented performer to ever grace the Fringe.’
CAPTIVATING ACTOR EARNS HIS FIVE STARS & STRIPES. You'll probably read a few reviews this August that carry the line: "If you only see one show this August, make sure it's this one." Some of them are justified, others not. So how do you justify giving a show five stars? For a start, if it's a solo show like this one, then the actor has to give, what you believe, to be their quintessential performance: flawless, dynamic, utterly captivating, life-affirming; the ability to leave you hanging on the edge of your seat, emotional, and with sympathy for their character. Fringe First-winning actor Kahlil Ashanti does all that. And more. The biggest surprise, the real crux of this story, though, doesn't fully reveal itself until the very end, by which time you'll probably be on your feet giving Ashanti a standing ovation.
A formidable tale about racism, relationships and reconciliation, Kahlil Ashanti is a terrific, versatile actor.
‘At points he moved me from tears to laughter in seconds. There is no flaw in this show. Not one. Go.’
‘65 electrifying minutes of heart rendering drama, energetic physical comedy and mind-blowing rap dance’